IND vs AUS, 1st Test: Preview, stats, and Fantasy XI
India are gearing up to host Australia in an all-important four-match Test series, starting February 9. Stakes are incredibly high as this series marks the last assignment of both teams in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship cycle. India need at least a 2-0 to seal a final berth. The Aussies need just a draw for the same. Here's the preview of the opener.
Pitch report, timing, and broadcast details
The Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur, which usually offers a spin-friendly surface, will host the duel. Sides batting first have won three of the six Tests here with 324 being the average first-innings score. India have won four out of six Tests here. The match will be telecast live on Star Sports Network (9:30 AM IST) and live-streamed on Disney+Hotstar (paid subscription).
Here's the head-to-head record
India and Australia have crossed swords in a total of 102 Tests so far. The Aussies have had the wood over the Indians, having won 43 of them. While India have won only 30 games, 28 of them have resulted in a draw (one tie). India have 21 wins and 13 defeats versus Australia at home in 50 Tests.
Both sides missing key players
While India's dashing wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant will miss the entire series, speedster Jasprit Bumrah is at least out of the first two games. Shreyas Iyer will also miss the opener. For Australia, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc won't participate in the Nagpur Test. Cameron Green is also doubtful. With so many injury concerns, the playing XI of both teams is to watch out for.
A look at the Probable XI of both sides
India (Probable XI): Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill/ Suryakumar Yadav, KS Bharat (Wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav Australia (Probable XI): Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Alex Carey (Wicketkeeper), Travis Head, Matt Renshaw, Ashton Agar, Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins (Captain), Scott Boland
Here are the key performers
Steve Smith owns 660 runs in six Tests in India with the help of three tons and a fifty. Nathan Lyon has done well on spin-friendly Indian tracks, scalping 34 wickets in seven Tests. Ravichandran Ashwin owns 312 scalps in just 51 Tests on home soil. Cheteshwar Pujara has smoked 1,893 runs in 20 Tests against the Aussies at 54.08.
Dream11 Fantasy Cricket Options
Fantasy XI (Options 1): Alex Carey, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara (VC), Marnus Labuschagne, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami Fantasy XI (Options 2): Alex Carey, KL Rahul, Steve Smith (C), Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Marnus Labuschagne, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Nathan Lyon (VC), Pat Cummins, Mohammed Shami